“Cheap” would never be a word used to describe a Walt Disney World Vacation, but it doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive either. Some experts estimate that Americans will spend an average of almost $1,000 just on gifts this year. When you add in decorations and groceries for entertaining family and friends, you could easily spend a couple thousand dollars.
Why not forgo all of this, which really only creates a day or two of excitement, for a fun and relaxing vacation in Walt Disney World, which would result in a lifetime of memories?
You might be surprised to hear that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to celebrate Christmas in Disney World. Sure, there are some expensive activities like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, but there are some free events.
If you’re heading to Disney World to celebrate Christmas this year, check out these top six free activities in Disney World this Christmas.
1. Resort Decorations
The Disney resort hotels are decked out for the holidays. Whether a value, moderate, or deluxe resort, you’ll find fun and festive Christmas decorations.
While each hotel features appropriately themed décor, my favorite is Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort Hotel and Spa. The lobby of this hotel transforms to a Christmas wonderland with a life-sized, edible gingerbread house that smells amazing. While you’re here, jump on the monorail and head to Disney’s Polynesian Resort to celebrate in South Pacific style and to Disney’s Contemporary Resort Hotel for a modern celebration.
Although park tickets aren’t free, once you enter you can enjoy decorations there too. Each park has a giant Christmas tree with appropriate theming for the park. My favorite park tree is in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
2. Drone Show
Disney recently debuted a new nighttime show in Disney Springs called Starbright Holidays. This show, which takes place at 7pm and 8:30pm nightly, features 300 drones that coordinate to create beautiful Christmas images set to festive music.
Since it’s free to enjoy Disney Springs, you can see one or both of these shows at no cost!
3. Festival of Toys
A very popular store, especially during Christmastime, is Disney Springs’ Once Upon a Toy. Once Upon a Toy celebrates Festival of Toys every day from 4pm to 10pm at the fountain outside of the store. The area comes alive with a dance party, carolers, pin trading, hot cocoa, and a tree lighting ceremony. Oversized toys join the fun to celebrate the Season with you!
4. Christmas Tree Trail
Also in Disney Springs is a Christmas tree experience like no other.
Disney has set up 15 Christmas trees each decorated with a different theme. Stroll down the trail as you enjoy festive music, and if you time it just right you might notice a light snowfall!
After your walk, head to one of the many Disney Springs restaurants and have some friendly discussion about which Christmas tree is your favorite!
5. Visit Santa
Santa appears in several locations throughout Disney World Resort. There are locations at each park plus Santa’s Chalet at Disney Springs.
Admission to Disney Springs is free as is meeting Santa. Just sign up with the elves and get a pager. When the pager goes off, return to the chalet for your meet and greet!
You’ll have to pay park admission to meet Santa in the parks, but the actual meet and greet is free.
Santa will be available at all locations through December 24th when he’ll be leaving to deliver presents to good boys and girls around the world. At that time, Santa Goofy will take over his duties at all locations.
6. Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!
Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! occurs nightly at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This activity again requires park admission, but the show, which includes character projections, special effects, lasers, and fireworks, is free.